Bijdrage mili­eu­com­missie over de strategie voor duurzaam gebruik van chemische stoffen

8 juni 2020

Anja Hazekamp (PvdD): Thank you Chair.

It is imperative that we fundamentally change the way we deal with chemicals in our society. The right to a toxic-free environment must finally be guaranteed, for all of us. But for this to happen, many things have to change. Because right now economic interests are prevailing over health interests.

Research has shown that if there is a notable national industry whose profits are based on a certain chemical, Member States tend to avoid proposing this chemical for the Candidate List regardless if the chemical has any health or environmental concerns.

The Commission itself is still authorizing uses of some of the most harmful carcinogenics and mutagenics, which are already on the Candidate List. Claiming there are no alternatives, the Commission is allowing workers and consumer exposure, so we can have shiny toilet bowls or shiny white toothpaste, as if this is something that is essential to our existence?!

And the subject that worries me the most: farmers are still spraying fruits, vegetables and cereals that end up on our plates, with chemicals that kill our pollinators, pollute our soils and our waters and that cause many diseases such as cancers and Parkinson’s disease.

These are just a few illustrations of how our whole system and the way we assess, approve and use chemicals will need to change. I would like to hear the reaction of the Commission and of Mr. Hansen to them. What will the strategy bring to change these unhealthy practices? What will the Commission do to ensure that our health is no longer impacted by harmful chemicals? And what targets, legal instruments and timelines will it propose for that?

We see a lot of aggressive lobbying from the chemical industry to delay or dilute the ambitions. And of course they will use the argument that the Covid-19 crisis is putting enough pressure on their businesses and that they cannot handle additional legislation. But I do hope we have all learned from the corona-outbreak that prevention is the best cure, that our health is the most important, and that we need to listen to the experts and follow their advice to save lives.

So please, let us listen to science and truly and rapidly work towards a toxic free environment. And of course without the use of laboratory animals.

Thank you.

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